The EU-OPENSCREEN Preparatory Phase project started on 1st November 2010. The objectives are to elaborate and reach a consensus between the organisations involved (ministries, funding bodies and scientific institutions) on a detailed business plan for the construction and operation of a European infrastructure of open-access technology platforms for Chemical Biology. The project is co-financed by the Research Infrastructures Unit of the Research Directorate-General of the European Commission. The EC contribution to this project is 3.7 Million Euros (Grant Agreement No.: 261861).
Legal, Governance and Logistical work:
A legal structure will be chosen that suits a distributed, pan-European research infrastructure with partners from different countries (e.g. the new ERIC). A legal framework will be developed to address all prerequisite legal issues such as the types of contracts used for co-operations between institutions and users (WP6). The governance structure of EU-OPENSCREEN will also be developed in this WP to ensure that the two structures are compatible. The governance structure has to support efficient decision-making, enable the extension of EU-OPENSCREEN, ensure efficient coordination of strategic activities with other ESFRI BMS infrastructures and support effective day-to-day management. EU-OPENSCREEN’s involvement with potential drug and target candidates affords careful consideration of intellectual property rights and suitable regulations and agreements will be established (WP8). In order to keep all relevant parties informed about the EU-OPENSCREEN activities and to coordinate this research infrastructure with other European initiatives (e.g. EATRIS, EMBRC, EuroBioImaging, BBMRI, ELIXIR), a website will be created as a central information gateway. Coordination with other ESFRI BMS infrastructure projects will secure public visibility (PR) and contribute to the effective integration into the European Research Area (WP4).
A user strategy and minimum standards for EU-OPENSCREEN centres will be defined in order to provide users with appropriate access to high quality facilities. This will involve stakeholder meetings, national and global surveys (WP5) as well as non-supported activities in the various EU member states to coordinate national consortia (WP13). Suitable concepts for training and education in the interdisciplinary field of Chemical Biology will be developed in order to educate staff and future generations of scientists (WP3).
Implementation of EU-OPENSCREEN will be based on a consortium of existing centres whose operations are supported by the parent institutes. A financial concept and management plan will be established (WP7) that includes financial controlling mechanisms as well as a business plan for the implementation and sustainable operation of a distributed pan-European infrastructure. Surveys on costs for capacity upgrades to existing facilities, for construction of new facilities and for operation with transnational access will be conducted, as well as an evaluation of investment models and funding options. Additional sources such as structural funds and other sponsors will also be recruited.
The detailed technical refinement of the infrastructure facilities needed to match the EU-OPENSCREEN user concept will be conducted (WP9-11). Common standards for exchange and deposition of data will be established (WP2), which will lead into the development of the ECBD and mechanisms for how it will be linked to other European databases such as ELIXIR and DRIVER (WP12).